Sitting in an enclosed garden eating lunch, Sub.bionic's Jimmy Tuckett could be any number of young men that move through the scenescape of Los Angeles. Wearing loose-fitting overalls, a knit cap perched on the back of his head, his hair beaded, Jimmy wouldn't look out of place at a rave or hanging out at the bar of a hot new club. But how many scenesters have written an opera? Or been a songwriter with hits on the Italian pop chart? Or will tell you with a straight face how much they hate the "fake people" in L.A and put their money where their mouth is by living not in the hipster expanse of Silverlake or the celebrity enclave that's the Hollywood Hills but in the gritty downtown warehouse district, where he was inspired to create by "the grime and the bliss of not having anything"?
Little surprises like that pop up in Jimmy's conversation; things such as the fact that he grew up without hearing rock music. A classically trained pianist, Jimmy was only exposed to "the heavyweights and Romantics...Brahms, Bach. Mozart, Prokofiev," Rock and Roll was a foreign country to him. So it makes sense that he had to travel overseas to discover rock and roll.
Moving to Italy on a whim two days after he graduated high school, Jimmy, as you might expect, didn't make the usual pilgrimage to the beaches or night-spots; instead he settled in a small southern town and began to write an opera. But after he was done, a friend "sat me down, told me to listen to something and played Pink Floyd's The Wall. 'That's also opera,' he said. I was floored."
He quickly fell in love with rock and began to immerse himself in the music. What most impressed Jimmy was "the diversity of the songs and the charisma and the attitude they had, you could feel it when you hear it." This led him to reject the nihilistic thrash of so much modern rock for a sound that's finely honed and emotionally open. "It's a very colorful record," he says when asked to describe the music. "It was important that it not sound linear. On too many albums the singer does every song in the same way." Echoes of Floyd and other classic rockers such as the Beatles and Led Zeppelin can be heard in the magisterial textures, inventive melodies and crunching intensity of Sub.bionic.
Songs such as "God In Neutral," "If Gushy" and "Love Transholisitic Bottle" chart the emotional, musical and spiritual journeys undertaken to achieve the state of clarity that Jimmy defines as being Sub.bionic. "It's not just a concept," he explains, "it's about a way of life...and how everything you see infiltrates your mind". It can be reached, he continues by "getting in touch with yourself. It's not about looking outside yourself, you have to look inward, then you're able to pull it out."
The result of his introspection defines Sub.bionic. It's sub-something that explores deep beneath the surface and bionic, an entity that is made up of organic and electronic elements. Dynamic, magisterial tunes that sound simultaneously classic and modern with lyrics that plumb the depths of emotion. Like their creator, it's not the sort of thing you come across everyday.
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